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Today’s picture captures the iconic pose of the Red-breasted Nuthatch – clinging to a tree trunk, upside down and with its head cocked checking out its surrounding. Nuthatches are curious yet cautious. Yesterday, as we were walking along the Whitemud Ravine south of the Snow valley trail head looking for a reported Black-backed Woodpecker, all of a sudden a scrawny-looking Red-breasted Nuthatch landed on a branch right in front of my face, no more than two feet away. It was almost as if it was demanding an offering before it would let me pass b. A nuthatch hold up. Except I did not have any food with me. I hesitantly reaches out towards it, fully expecting it to take off. Instead it eagerly jumped onto my hand and started hopping around looking for something to eat. It started to energetically pecking at my thumb. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, another Red-breasted Nuthatch swooped it, tackles the scrawny nuthatch on my hand and took its place. Once it had determined that I did not have anything edible, it took off. I was quite perplexed by the behaviour of these nuthatches. I have had plenty of chickadees eagerly landing and pecking on my hand hoping for a hand out, but this was the first time nuthatches had shown this behaviour. I am not sure if these two individuals were just more habituated to humans and from getting handouts, or if they were just more desperate to find food. The first nuthatch did look quick scrawny and skinny. In the end we never found the Black-backed Woodpecker, but thanks to these two nuthatches we nevertheless were left with an unforgettable experience.
May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling.com). Copyright Mario Pineda.